When physicians routinely "thin" the blood of patients undergoing coronary artery bypass surgery in order to place them on the heart-lung machine, they may be causing more damage to the kidneys and other organs than previously appreciated, according to a new study by Duke University Medical Center researchers.
For years moderate dilution of the blood has been thought to protect the kidneys from damage, but the Duke researchers found in their study of more than 1,400 bypass patients that dilution to the lower levels of accepted ranges is associated with measurable kidney damage. The Duke team published the results of its study in the September 2003 issue of the Annals of Thoracic Surgery.
In order to safely operate on a non-beating heart, physicians attach the body to a heart-lung machine, which takes over for the stopped heart in circulating oxygen-rich blood throughout the body. To prime the pump, physicians add fluid -- usually a balanced saline solution -- to the circuit to fill the tubing and pumping chambers of the machine.
Richard Merritt | EurekAlert!
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